Following recent travels, it is exciting to see the Fall conference season back in full swing. From Global SIOR events, the CREi Summit, to last week’s CREW convention, each highlighted the incredibly powerful “social side” of our industry.
These interactions also reminded me that navigating a large event, let alone transforming a casual conversation to something far more future minded isn’t easy – nor should it be. The type of long-lasting relationships that extend beyond the traditional notion of networking, where confidence, loyalty, and high-level information sharing exist are not developed overnight.
Here are five (5) areas that have helped me over the years to shift away from networking to building meaningful connections:
- Be True to You. Avoid the make the mistake of trying to be someone you aren’t. Honesty and authenticity will always produce the best results. It makes you distinct and memorable. Today’s industry leaders stand out for similar reasons.
- Come Prepared. Know the audience you are walking into. Be ready to intelligently talk about what makes you unique, your market, and area of expertise. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be.
- The Personal Side. No one likes to be sold. Use the opportunity to listen, get to know people on a personal level and what they are also looking for. Its amazing how rare this is and will pay dividends down the road.
- Invest the Time. You must be willing to get involved. Every event or organization needs volunteers. Take action by joining a committee or pursing a leadership role. It’s much easier if you approach this as a multi-year commitment and stick to it.
- Follow Through with Excellence. Few follow up in a thoughtful way, if at all. This is your opening. Connect through social media, but also send a personal email or handwritten note. Add them to your marketing distribution list, and so forth to ensure future minded engagement. Consistency is everything.
Remember that the most worthwhile opportunities may not come initially in the form of referral business. There is so much more to this. For me, that has often included industry knowledge, growth as a leader, and yes, even life-long friendships.
What creative methods are you using to develop a stronger, more impactful alliance within your industry and beyond? Please share your ideas!